Just Because I Wanted To :D

Yesterday I made chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting. Just because I wanted to. Isn’t that awesome? What’s more awesome is that I’m actually blogging about the day after and not next month! One step forward in beating the procrastination that tends to run my life! I’m excited, can you tell? Haha, anyway, I made used this Devil’s Food Cake  recipe from BHG to make these cupcakes (I used only the cake recipe, not the glaze or frosting).

It was the first time I had tried it and they are pretty good. I think they could use more chocolate or something but the cake is nice and light and fluffy. And they definately satisfied my craving for cake. And, just so you know, I used butter instead of shortening because I didn’t have shortening but it didn’t give me any problems.

Doesn’t that cake look perfect? They are very yummy and I will certainly make them again but I will probably add in more cocoa and maybe take out the cinnamon.  I topped them with this Vanilla-Chocolate Powdered Sugar Frosting, opting to add in the cocoa powder, of course. I’ve made this frosting before and it was pretty good. This time I added more cocoa powder and then added an extra tablespoon of milk. Next time, I won’t add the third tablespoon of milk because it was too soft (but still good). It’s a pretty sweet frosting but that works here.

These were a very yummy treat and were just what I needed to satisfy my craving for cake. My little sisters really liked them too and I’m sure there won’t be any left by the end of the weekend. If you’ve got a craving for chocolate cake, try out these recipes this weekend and let me know what you think. Enjoy your weekend! 🙂

Playing with Candy

So I started this post a couple weeks ago and the procrastination won again… seems right on schedule for me though :/ (I swear I’m going to try to do better!!)

Some weeks ago, I was at the airport and I picked up a copy of Better Homes and Gardens.  Whenever I go to the airport, I usually pick up a magazine just not that one.  This time, however, I couldn’t find a Glamour and I didn’t like who was on the cover of Self so I grabbed a BHG.  I was pretty glad I did because there were a couple recipes I could try the next weekend for my sister’s birthday cake. I was pretty excited to make my little sister a cake and it turned out pretty cute.

I was really excited to try the recipe for Candy Clay, which is what the flowers, butterflys, and letter are made of. Candy Clay is just corn syrup and white chocolate mixed together. It’s really simple to make and is very sweet. It was pretty soft though which made it a bit difficult to work with. This could have been because I made it in a very humid, hot area. The butterflies were especially difficult to do so I only made two but it was definately an interesting experience. To make the candy clay, you melt a 12 oz. package of white chocolate chips and then mix in 1/3 cup corn syrup. Once it’s all mixed together you let it sit for atleast an hour. You are suppsed to wrap it in plastic wrap but I didn’t have any so I put it in a container which didn’t help it firm up so in the end I left it out to air dry. Then when you want to use it, sprinkle your work surface with powdered sugar and roll it out and cut shapes or cover your cake as would with fondant (something I have never used and I’m not sure I want to try). I think next time I will try adding less corn syrup to see if it will firm up more. I also used the clay to decorate some cucpcakes for my older sister since her birthday is also in May.

Here, I shaped the candy clay as I would normal clay. On the cake, I rolled the clay out and hand cut the letters and numbers. I think I prefer the second method but I need some cutters to that the letters and numbers come out more even and neat. I will definately try this out again, with some tweaks, so I can see what else I can make with it. But I’m glad I got a chance to make two of my sisters something yummy for their birthdays and I think my sister’s enjoyed their cake/cupcakes which was what was really important. 🙂

Trying Something New…

I was supposed to write this post a few weeks ago but I often lose the battle with procrastination and this time was no exception. It kind of sucks because I was really excited about what I accomplished and I wish I had shared it sooner but later is better than never right? Plus, I’m still pretty excited about it. See, I finally tried making royal, something I once mentioned I was afraid of. I’m not afraid of the product itself, just the process. It turns out it’s not that scary.It was definately a learning experience but it wasn’t too scary. I used a sugar cookie recipe that I have used since I started baking and this royal icing recipe from Joyofbaking.com. I made some flowers, a couple of suns, and some piggies!

Flowers and Suns

So, this icing tasted like marshmellows and was very light and fluffy, none of which I was expecting, although I’m not really sure what I was expecting. It was very interesting to work with. I mixed three different colors, pink, yellow, and brown, and also used the icing as it was(white). It was weird though, because the white icing never really dried but the colored icing dried just fine. I’m not sure if I need to whip the icing more or if it had been too thinned. It might have helped to read some of the information in the paragraphs above the recipe, which I didn’t do until way later, since it says add more powdered sugar for piping… oh, well. Like I said, it was a learning experience. I also need to work on mixing icing colors; the didn’t just didn’t come out brown enough and the yellow was too pale, but practice makes perfect and I will keep trying.

For the piggies, I used a tulip cutter. They may seem a little random but I could see that pig in that tulip cutter and had to try. It didn’t come out quite the way I saw it in my head (which is usually the case) but they are pretty darn cute. And this attempt at decorating with royal icing didn’t come without its major mishaps.

Oops :/

The top of the bottle popped off when I was filling in the sun. But it’s ok because I got to eat that one. 🙂

Overall, this experiement went a lot better than I had anticipated. I think I’ll try this recipe again as it seemed to work well for basic cookies and tasted great but I’ll also continue to try out other recipes to see which works best for me. I had a lot of fun making these cookies and I can’t wait to try again and share more.

Surprise Heart Cupcakes

As you all know, yesterday was Valentine’s Day. Since I’ve been single all my life, this day really has no meaning to me… but I wouldn’t miss an opportunity to try a new recipe. So, I made my mom some cupcakes to take to work (which is where most of my baked goods currently go).

I used Wilton’s Vanilla Cupcake Recipe. It was the first time I had tried it and the cupcakes turned out really nice. Cake from scratch is not my strong point but I have been getting better and for me this recipe is definitely a keeper. Now, these look like ordinary cupcakes but they have a cute little surprise in them. 🙂

Hearts! Now I’m fairly certain that the heart in the cupcake pictured above some how ended upside down but I still like it. And I’m fairly certain no one who ate them noticed that there were hearts in their cupcakes, but I know they were there and it was just for practice and fun. I got the idea from this video on the blog Cupcakes Take the Cake. So, basically, you take some of your cupcake batter and color it. Then you bake it in a small pan; the woman in the video uses a square pan but I didn’t have one so I used a round one. Then once it cools you use a small heart cutter (or any other mini cutter you want, I want to try it again with some of my mini butterflies and flower cutters).

My cake was still a bit warm so it made a mess of my cutter but the hearts came out pretty nice. I will definately wait until it is cooler next time, though. I got about 15 hearts out of my cake. To bake them into the cupcakes, you put a little bit of batter at the bottom of the cupcake pan; I put about a tablespoon. Then you put the heart in the middle and cover it with another tablespoon or so of batter.

Then you bake them. It’s that simple. It takes a little time since you have to bake a cake, let it cool and then bake cupcakes but it definitely wasn’t difficult. My hearts seemed to shift when I put them in the oven, though. Note the heart that is completely face up after baking.

I frosted the cupcakes with buttercream. I am always trying new buttercream recipes, trying to find one I really like and the one I tried here was really awesome. It is this Classic Buttercream Frosting  from the blog Savory Sweet Life. It was light and fluffy and had a great taste. I had every intention of coloring it a light pink but as I learned last week, my attention to detail needs work, so it was just a lovely white frosting. 😉

So, that’s my first adventure in baking fun shapes into my cupcakes. Check out the video linked above, then try out your own surprise cupcakes and let me know how it goes. What other shapes would you bake in the middle?

Hearts, Hearts, and Stars

I made sugar cookies yesterday. I recently bought some heart shaped cookie cutters and since its the season for hearts, I used them. However, I didn’t want to use just hearts. I needed another shape…just to see what how I could decorate them. So I made stars. 🙂 I have a limited supply of cookie cutters right now. It’s Christmas cutters and the new hearts and a few mini butterflies and flowers (which I also made but didn’t decorate) and Christmasy ones just didn’t seem right. But stars aren’t just for Christmas; they are for anytime you want. So anyway, I made the cookies and I decorated them in a variety of ways.

First I made “Owl Always Love You” cookies, inspired by these over at The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle (one of my favorite cookie blogs, she is crazy talented)

Note the missed eyebrows on that back one. I guess I’m not as detailed oriented as I should be. These are decorated with buttercream (as are all the cookies I’m posting today). I’m a little afraid to try royal icing right now which means I can’t fill the background of them in the same way as Sugarbelle did hers but they still turn out super cute. I tried these cookies last week treating the buttercream in a similar way to royal icing but it didn’t quite work…

So anyway, I also made these cute Cat Cookies (note the missing whiskers on a couple, I really need to pay more attention 🙂 )

And these are some Talking Hearts:

The way these hearts are shaped, they remind me of the talking bubbles in comics and so I wanted them express some Valentine’s Day sentiments.

And here is a random assortment, a couple bows and a small rose with polka dots:

And these are my favorites! They are decorated with brushed embroidery flowers:Brush Embroidery Hearts

And last but not least, the stars:

Here I wanted to try piping a swirly design. It wasn’t easy and I need a lot more practice but that’s okay, I’m up for the challenge.

Love to Bake

I love to bake. I’ve been doing it since I was like eleven or something and now I am turning 23. That’s pretty crazy for me to think about. Anyway, I am starting this blog to share what I love with those who love it as well (or anyone who wants to read about yummy food). I want to share the cookies, cupcakes, cheesecakes, muffins, pies, and the list just goes on and on. And I also want to encourage myself to continue to learn new things. While I’ve been baking for 12 years or so, I know very little and, therefore, have so much to learn. I’m fairly new to decorating and making cakes/cupcakes but I’m very excited to learn and to try new things. I can’t wait to show y’all what I learn and to share my baking adventures with you. 🙂